Neither Rachel nor I had managed to sleep more than an hour or so on the 8-ish hour flight, so by the time we arrived in Barcelona on Friday morning, we were somewhat bleary-eyed and dazed but excited. After all, our vacation was officially under way!
Our first task was getting from the airport to our hotel, which seemed like a simple enough prospect. In an effort to be thrifty and save our money for important things like cava, we eschewed the idea of taking a cab and set our sights on public transit. We located the bank of machines in the airport that sold transit passes and gazed at them for a few beats in our sleep-deprived haze before I announced that I was sure I’d read something in my guide book the various available passes. We pulled our suitcases off to the side so as not to block the machines while I unearthed my guide book (score 1 point for self awareness in public spaces!).
At first, I just partially unzipped my suitcase and felt around for the book, certain that I had put it right on top so it would be easily accessible, but it managed to elude me, so I fully unzipped the case and continued to feel around. The guide had to be somewhere near the top! Then again, things might have shifted in transit. I rooted around a while longer, pushing stuff out of the way, groping for the book. WTF? It had to be in there! I’m a little obsessive about packing. I make lists of the lists I need to make, then I check all the lists at least three times. I would not forget my guide book.
At that point, I decided to take a more systematic approach to my search, and I proceeded to unpack most of my bag, piling its contents on the top flap, but still finding no guide book. Then I remembered the front exterior pocket of my suitcase. I unceremoniously swept my clothes and sundries back into the main compartment, flipped the flap closed, and unzipped the front pocket. The book was there. Naturally! I had put it there for the easiest of access! “Of course!” I exclaimed. “I’m smart…except when I’m really dumb!”
I consulted the guide book, only to find it didn’t actually contain the information I sought —I must have read it elsewhere. Ultimately, we theorized that a 5-day transit pass would probably serve our needs, and although it took four tries on two different machines, we bought the passes. Never mind that a short time later, we discovered that those passes actually didn’t work for the bus from the airport to the hotel. No matter—we made it to the hotel, and our room was even ready for us despite our early arrival. This meant we could rest our weary bones by taking a little nap (a siesta perhaps?) and clean up before exploring the city.
Once refreshed, we got a bite to eat at La Cerería and then wandered around, somewhat aimlessly, taking in some sights and trying to push through our jet-lag. We browsed a few shops and perused the offerings at a local art fair…OK, fine, I actually plunged in headlong and got a jump on my souvenir shopping. Next, we visited Le Pop Cocktail Bar for some extremely pretty and very tasty drinks, one of which was my first-ever cocktail to contain Pop Rocks. After drinks, we set out to find and take selfies with Botero’s cat.
By then, darkness was starting to fall, and because the next day was the festival of Saint John the Baptist, we were soon surrounded by the sights and sounds of amateur fireworks. My normally kitten-like nerves and my jet-lag haze combined to make me even jumpier than usual. Each time a bang or pop sounded, I practically leaped out of my skin. Meanwhile, Rachel sprang forth as if to shield me from (nonexistent) gunfire. I would later provide her with bandages for her blisters, so I like to think we each exhibited some maternal instincts in our own way. Pleasantly exhausted, we decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel.